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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  July 14, 2018 10:45pm-11:00pm BST

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my son who bonnie know, we been... my son who bonnie know, we have never really done sport, all of a sudden he is returning home, i have to see england. england! and they lost at the end, i mean he was screaming, and yelling and throwing things. they have done a great thing for sport. they really have. disappointment but people are still feeling proud. the trains being late, that is very english too. shall we turn to the observer to talk about wimbledon and the tennis and serena williams, who didn't win, but has obviously done a massive amount to get to the final, just a few months after giving birth and having a tough time during that labour, here she is making it to the final but losing to angelique kerber. still go girl. she is an ever champ. she walked up to her opponent, who if you think about it, this is her idol, you could see in her face, serena walks up to her and
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says you were brilliant, fantastic, she tried to do it for the other mummys out there and i did my best. she got to the final. but the scandal is she left the number two, her numbertwo thing scandal is she left the number two, her number two thing in the chair, so her number two thing in the chair, so that is thing everybody is talking about. she left the dish in the chair as she walked off. but she isa champ. the chair as she walked off. but she is a champ. and totally class act. thank you both very much. that is it for the papers this hour. we'll be back at 11.30 for another look at the papers. next on bbc news, it's meet the author. tommy orange has written an unusual american novel. unusual because, for most of his readers, it will be their firstjourney into native american life, to the sound of a dozen voices of the characters who are bound for the big powwow and who each tell their own story about how their way of life has become urbanized, about the anger that's always simmering underneath,
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because many of them have become outcasts in their own country. about the tragicomic scene at the powwow itself, when they put on the feather headdresses and do traditional dances. the novel, there there, is a funny and sad picture of contemporary american life from a startling and original point of view. welcome. did you think consciously when the book was taking shape, that you were talking to many of your readers about something of which they would know very little? i actually wrote more for other native people.
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i was in a native writing community, the school that i teach at is the institute of american indian arts in santa fe, new mexico. and even though some of the information, some of the native audience knows, i wanted to write in a compelling way that would be interesting even to people who already knew the information, so i really tried to hone specifically the prologue and the interlude, so even if that audience already knew the information, i wanted it to be compelling and to feel new. well, you mentioned the prologue and i think those who are not familiar with the story of the native americans experience or at least familiar with it only in the broadest terms, outside the united states, for example, will find it very raw and fierce. i mean, it is a terribly sad story. yeah, i mean, it was surprising to me because i did research myself. you don'tjust come into being native with knowledge and the schools definitely don't teach, if anything they teach a candy coated version meant to make it seem more like a heroic adventure across an empty frontier. so, in the research i was doing, i wasn't surprised to find a lot of facts that were very easy to look up, if you care.
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and so, i also, you know, i wanted to make all the information, notjust preachy, this was a sad and bad and you all should feel bad. i wanted to make it something that was readable. well, it's a novel. it's a story about a dozen people who are heading for this great powwow. now, how would you describe the great powwow itself? how would you, to an outsider, what would you say it meant? so, i chose the powwow as the setting for the ending because, so, the urban indian experience is what i talk about. this is native people that were born and raised in the city, so a powwow and an urban indian have a lot of parallels. urban indian people tend to be intertribal, because you have a lot of people coming from reservations
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in the 50s and 60s on relocation and a lot of different tribes coming together into one place, so you had intermarriage and people that ended up two or three tribes, so powwows are a whole bunch of tribes coming together, all celebrating sort of one culture in a sense. there is a sort of pan indianism there, that certain tribes, they liked to keep their particular tribal essence intact and are sort of against pan indianism. but there's something beautiful about everybody coming together and celebrating a culture of native american people and what all our sameness is instead of our differences. to people of your generation, how important do you think the preservation of the culture and some of the traditions is? it varies. there is a lot of young people, their lives are very similar to any other person in america or anywhere else. and they say that is gone, it's passed. they might not even have a position on it, they are just into their phones,
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liking or not liking school and it does not necessarily occur to everybody to think about responsibility and connection to cultural heritage. sometimes it's a privilege to even have the time to notjust be surviving and to be, sometimes the day—to—day grind does not allow for it. the stories in the book and we hear voices telling the story, their approach to the powwow, are very funny in many places but they are also poignant and sad because what you're talking about here is the destructive effect, really, of contemporary life on individuals and families, aren't you? yeah, and i wanted to, i wanted to make it real, this effect, this echo, from centuries of at first massacre and genocide, and then genocidal policies and how affect those people living today, because sometimes you get the sense that people are well like that happened long ago, forget about it, get over it, and living in the community and knowing a lot of people in the community, there are ways that those things play out in individual lives today.
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one of the themes that plays out in the book is of course the extent of which putting on the feather headdresses and doing traditional dances is a proper honouring of tradition and respectful, or the extent of which it's become something for tourists, to make money, and that is one of the tensions that you are really exploring. it's at the heart of the book and it's funny but it's sad. and something about powwows that i've noticed, if you don't know powwow culture, some people think it's a show to be put on for outside but it's actually, when you go to a powwow, it mostly native people and it's actually a dance competition to win money, so people tour the whole country, call it the powwow trail, they try to win dances and they will win the drum competitions and singing competitions, you sell your food and you sell your jewellery. like rodeo or something.
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it's that kind of thing. it's very much an internal celebration as opposed to a show, putting on a show for outsiders. would you describe it as an angry book? yeah. i think there's a palpable anger and a lot of people who have been oppressed for many years continue to be, and for native people specifically, because we are a small percentage of people in the united states and that is for a very specific reason. and so it is hard to find voice and it is hard to hear your own voice, see your own image, and so when you suppress something like that, and you don't feel like the story has been told correctly, you get mad. when you're writing the book, and i would be interested to know how the scheme of it took shape, did you intend it to be polemical and angry? i sense in the book that you don't want to sound as if you are preaching. on the other hand, you cannot help saying this matters. i neither intended it to be angry
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nor funny and have been surprised when people react in those ways. i just wrote it as true as i could and tried to pay attention to the craft level and sentence level as best as i could write sentences. you were trying to get in the heads of the characters whose voices you are telling the story through. correct. so i was not surprised to hear that it was angry sounding. i have that in me and i know it is in my community. i was a little more surprised by it being funny for people. but i think it's good to mix sadness and humour. i think that's a really important mix. well, and they are pretty close together, sometimes, aren't they? yeah, they are. if the world is mad, all you can do is laugh at it. yeah. native people have a long history of making tragedy into comedy. there were relatively few writers from the native american community who are known by outsiders. there are some, but few in number.
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do you think there could be more? i would hope that the success of my book would lead to publishers being more open to publishing other native authors. that would be the most amazing thing to happen from my book because, the problem has been that we have had one image, one monolithic image and so i am certainly not trying to just bring in another monolith and say this is the voice. i think we need a dynamic range of voices and that is part of why i chose 12 characters. when you had finished the book, and you had said what you wanted to say in there there, what had it achieved for you? forget about the reader. for you in writing this down and telling the story. i think, and i touch on this in the book throughout, i think there is something powerful and almost mysteriously powerful in telling the story itself and what the telling of the story can do and i would like to keep its mystery.
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i don't want to explore it too much. i know what it did for me. it was a powerful experience to get involved with the novel and finish it and it was tough, and i am proud of it. i don't know exactly what it's done or what it's doing in the world but i am happy for what what is happening. tommy orange, author of there there. thank you very much. thank you. and since this is the last meet the author for the time being, thank you to all of you, too. goodbye. hello. much of the uk has enjoyed a fine, dry, quite warm, even hot in places start to the weekend, but not everywhere. let me show you a weather watcher picture from highland scotland, where at least there has been some more cloud around, but for some a little bit of rain, too, along a weather system which is weakening as it moves in at the moment, although as we go into tomorrow it mayjust pick up a little bit and turn that rain a bit heavier
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in western parts of scotland and northern ireland. in fact, that process under way later in the night, as cloud starts to spread a bit further east. for england and wales, with the exception maybe of some mist and low cloud in parts of wales and north—west england, it's going to stay clear, and temperatures at their highest overnight in scotland and northern ireland. a rather warm night to come here, and temperatures for some into the upper teens. into tomorrow, and more of scotland compared with today and northern ireland will have cloud and some outbreaks of rain, but i think many in eastern scotland aren't going to see any rain until quite late in the day. for england and wales, sunny start, some cloud building, but a dry day to come with plenty of afternoon sunshine and temperatures every bit as warm or even as hot as they were today. we'll add a degree or two onto some of these temperatures. it will be a bit cooler in scotland and northern ireland. where we saw temperatures in the mid—20s, somejust into the low 20s for sunday, so quite a range from north—west to south—east across the uk, but near 30 in the warm spots in south—east england. at wimbledon, it's going to be one of the hottest men's finals in recent decades, and temperatures not too far
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away from 30 celsius. much more sunshine compared with today. this is the picture for monday, and our weather front is continuing to move its way south—east, and it will include a few heavier downpours as it moves into parts of england and wales. quite a variety of rain totals, from basically nothing in some spots to quite a bit in others, so fingers crossed if you want something on the garden. the south—east staying dry until very late in the day, and still quite hot for one more day, whereas elsewhere that weather front is turning things cooler and fresher. a process just about complete on tuesday as it moves away eastwards, so where it's been hot temperatures are coming down a few degrees. there will be a few showers around as we go through the week ahead, but still a fair amount of fine, dry, occasionally sunny weather, and it won't be as hot as it's been but pleasantly warm where the sun makes an appearance. that's the forecast. this is bbc news.
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the headlines at 11:00: thousands of people take to the streets of edinburgh in a third day of protests against president trump's and visit. relaxing at his bare sure resort, the president was booed as he played golf during his private visit to scotland. —— ayrshire. theresa may has warned conservative mps that they are putting brexit at risk if they don't back her plan for withdrawing from the eu. the boys rescued from a cave in thailand will be reunited with their families this week. one of the boys' father has been speaking to the bbc. translation: he said it was an enormous struggle inside the cave. it was of course dark and there was no food.
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